Doctors are men who prescribed medicine of which they know little to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing. — Voltaire —
October 8th (Wednesday)
It was total mayhem at work. I won’t be reporting for work starting from tomorrow. Duty my ass, I’m not paid enough to clean up someone else’s mess. Our beloved Prime Minister and his puffy pink lips went live again this morning. He basically confirmed the presence of a highly contagious disease within our borders and that a curfew would soon be in place. The public is reminded to stay indoors and to avoid contact with ill patients. After being prompted by the press, he went on to describe the ill as those with flu-like symptoms, acting wild or having odd behaviour, including cannibalism. He tried to keep things calm by saying that the authorities are doing all they can to contain the disease. Those with symptoms should report themselves to the nearest healthcare facilities. Family members are also advised not to treat their sick by themselves.
From then on, the situation went from bad to worse. Rumours spread like wildfire about a vaccine being distributed to the major hospitals and that the government has deployed the army to maintain the curfew at all major cities, including ours. But we were in the suburbs; those that want protection would have to cross either the bridge or the bay. Half of the staff just quit and went home to their families. The rest did the best they could given the circumstances. Most of those seeking treatment were to ask for the non-existent vaccine. We were being instructed by the Ministry of Health to send all suspicious patients to the General Hospital in the city. There was heavy traffic leading towards the motorway. Part of the rumour was true; there was an increase in army presence. They arrived right after the Prime Minister’s message and constructed a portable decontamination unit in the hospital compound. In the end, we had to rely on their helicopters to ferry the patients across the bay.
I did not encounter any untoward incidents during my shifts. Most of those seeking treatment did not show any signs of aggression. The serious ones were too weak or too ill to do so. Stripped myself down to my birthday suit for the decontamination shower, wasn’t planning on carrying the bug home. Manage to contact my family via phone after ten tries, lucky for them; they managed to purchase the things that we needed before the panic started. Anyway, we have enough food to last at least two months (three if we skimped), so what I wanted was for them to get some rainwater catchment barrels, some sturdy boards and metal brackets (to construct our own barricade) and whatever else that they feel is necessary. Told them to get one of those hand-cranked portable radios.
Almost got into an accident while on the way back home. Crazy driver, trying to manoeuvre his way against the flow of traffic. People are rushing to the stores, the stores are rushing to close down their businesses, people rushing to leave the area and everyone else is rushing somewhere. Mr Mahon was still holed up in his house, haven’t seen him outside at all for the last few days. I know he’s still there since his car is still parked outside and the lights are on inside. Anyone equipped for this outbreak would be him and whatever he has stashed inside that house of his. I was parking my car parallel against the gate when some of my neighbours came asking questions about the disease. I told them what I knew and what I saw, it was up to them to come up with their own conclusions.
The Smiths were the first to leave for the capital in their SUV. Since I told them I was going to stay behind, they passed their house keys and the keys to their 4WD to me for safekeeping. Told me to take whatever I need, they have some food stored up. I told them I would do my best to ensure the safety of their house, which was located right at the edge of the cliff. The only entry point is the narrow road leading to their house, which was surrounded by walls on both sides. Our opposite neighbours, the Samuels, have decided to stay put; they wanted to wait for their daughters to arrive first. The rest were still undecided but appear eager to ditch and run. Couldn’t blame them, they were caught unprepared.
Decided to conduct a little experiment, told the family to switch on all the necessary lights, I needed to check for light leaks. Don’t want to find my house acting like a beacon when all the surroundings are in the dark. The thick curtains did their job well. I had my family unscrew the light bulbs that we do not need, both to conserve electricity and to avoid accidentally switching them on in the middle of the night. My flat roof has come in real handy now, armed with a pair of binoculars and my crossbow, I have a good view of the main road entering the neighbourhood and the immediate surroundings.
There was a snake of tail lights starting from the town and stretching all the way towards the motorway. A cacophony of car horns, sirens and general commotion was going on. Everyone is evacuating into the city or to some other place connected by the motorway. Looking towards the bridge, it was going to be a slow crawl across the bay. There were helicopters flying overhead too, all heading towards the city and encircling the naval academy in the distance. It was going to be a long night.
Surprisingly, the situation was the exact opposite in my neighbourhood. Probably due to the low density and the affluent background of the inhabitants, most of them have left earlier in the day. I don’t expect them to just stay right here at the outskirts of the city, when they could be holed up at some 5-star hotel next to the hospital or further away in the capital with more protection. I hope the looters should have enough brain matter to hit those abandoned houses rather than mine.
Things are beginning to get serious, the US have closed their airports to all inbound flights. Their President has ordered a good sweep of all ground border entries, putting into place strict quarantine protocols. A few other European countries are doing the same. They also mentioned that they have lost all contact with some of the Middle East countries. I’m glad I managed to convince Erin to move back here, I’m just hoping that it isn’t the wrong decision. Mark managed to call his parents, a curfew is in place, and the area around the airport is now a No Entry Zone. The police and the army has set up roadblocks on all entry points into the capital, at some areas, the traffic is almost 50km long. They also heard rumours that there were some shootings near the airport, the army turning their guns against the civilians. There were some looting but the authorities managed to clamp it down, or so it seems.
This is all too surreal for me. The whole scenario seemed to have just leapt from The Walking Dead series and into real life. Just trying to wrap my mind around the whole issue and making sense of it.